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Aanewaalaa phal, jaanewaalaa hai… (The fruits, they come and go… )

Fruits! Delicious, luscious fruits! One would say everybody loves fruits. They are nutritious, taste good and are attractive for the eye. Well, they have to be, after all the plant wants it’s children to travel far and wide. Why then this step-motherly treatment to these fabulous creations of nature in Hindi film songs?

Fruits were and are associated with lust. Offering of the apple by Eve to Adam is often cited as an example of this partnership in sin. The Indian censors were very strict about this and only let small and insignificant fruits be sung about in the film songs. As you must have noticed in my post Fruit cake, even if they allowed some fruits to slip through, they saw to it that they had the ugliest melodies possible or it is was done indirectly like ambua ki dali (a mango branch) or beri ke neeche (below the jujube tree). Not the fruits themselves but the tree was in the focal point. Lots of lyricists still wrote lyrics mentioning the fruits of their taste or which suited the scene and occasion. All these attempts were brutally suppressed and the words changed beyond recognition.

During my stay in India in July, in London in August and the last week’s stay in the Black Forest, I could meet witnesses and activists in exile. They told me stories of suppression and oppression of artists and poets of the Bombay film industry by the censors. They told me stories of how works of art where mutilated on the grounds of decency and morality.

I can only write about ten such songs. After reading this article, you, my dear intelligent readers will surely see through many other songs, which we sing every day and have been racking our brains why a certain word doesn’t quite fit in.
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Posted by on October 21, 2011 in Bollywood, Lists

 

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